Lyre Harp Tabs

The Germanic Lyre Everything you need to know

Types of Lyre

What is Germanic Lyre Everything you need to know [2022]

During the Anglo-Saxon period, musical instruments were plucked and strung on lyres similar to those found today. Lyres have been discovered in England multiple times throughout the centuries, dating back to antiquity. Many illustrations and poetry from the Anglo-Saxon era serve to illustrate and explain the subject matter.

A lyre had been thought to have been lost to history until it was discovered during an archaeological investigation at Sutton Hoo in the 1930s. Germanic Lyre was the most significant stringed instrument in history at the time of its development, according to the Museum of London Archaeology.

A lyre was not known to exist in Northern Europe at the time of the Sutton Hoo discovery, and the designs of lyres from other parts of the world differed so significantly from one other that it was not recognized as such at the time. When archaeologists couldn’t find any other stringed instruments in the region, they turned to the Irish harp, which hadn’t been discovered until 400 years after Sutton Hoo.

It was only a few years before it was repaired by experts in early musical instruments in the 1940s that a lyre shard was welded together to resemble an Irish harp, which was shown in the British Museum for a few years before it was restored by experts in early musical instruments. It was only after this that it was found that the lyre had previously been considered a “lost” musical instrument in the annals of history.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that a second lyre that was practically uninjured was discovered in Germany. A faithful reconstruction of Sutton Hoo’s lyre has been completed, demonstrating that the instrument was not exclusive to England at the time of its invention. Within a few years of the German discovery, other lyres were unearthed in Scandinavia.

Tuning the Germanic lyre is a tedious process

We know very little about the real Germanic peoples and how they tuned their lyres, which is understandable. Generally, the lyre is tuned in major tuning because it provides a very large number of different chords, all of which are easy to play, and since there are really quite a few songs that utilize a major tuning as their tuning. In addition to the above tunings, there are other options available for your lyre, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Tuning the lyre may be accomplished in two different ways: you can begin with either the highest (thinnest) or lowest (thickest) string that is closest to you. It is likely that the former will feel most natural to guitarists, while the latter will feel more natural to players of Baltic/Finnish zithers like the kantele and kokle, or a left-handed guitar. Because we do not know how the Germanic peoples accomplished it, it is a question of personal choice, just as it is with tuning.

In the event that you’ve discovered a song in a major tuning that you’d want to perform, but it happens to be in a different major tuning (for example, C-major while your lyre is in G-major), there are two options available to you. You may, of course, retune your lyre to match the new tuning, but this is typically a time-consuming process.

Alternatively, you may just play the tabs as they are, thinking that your lyre is tuned to the same pitch as the tabs. Naturally, the tone will be modified, but you will discover that the melody has remained the same!

Playing the Germanic Lyre

So, you’ve learned how to tune the lyre by now. But what good is it if you are unable to play it yourself? Plucking and strumming are the two most common techniques to play the lyre, and we will attempt to teach you both in the next section.

1. Plucking

Plucking is the quickest and most straightforward method, and it’s usually where you should begin, at least until you’ve got a general feel for the instrument. Pick the strings gently with your right hand (or left hand, if you’re left-handed) with your fingers, or use a plectrum to gently pluck them one at a time. You may build a tune by plucking the strings of other instruments.

2. Strumming

To create chords, you can of course simply pluck a few strings together at a time. Strumming, on the other hand, is both quicker and easier after a little experience. Unlike instruments such as the guitar, where you would use the fingers of your left hand to dampen undesirable strings, strumming is done using the fingers of your right hand.

Consider the following scenario: you wish to play a Dm chord, which is composed of the notes D, F, and A. These are the 2nd, 4th, and 6th strings of a lyre tuned to the key of C major, respectively. You may now play the first, third, and fifth strings using the fingers of your left hand, instead of plucking them with the fingers of your right hand.

Don’t push too hard; you only want to touch them, not press them, so avoid pressing them. Strumming all of the strings with a plectrum or your hand is now required. Your fingertips dampen the undesirable strings, and voila, you’re left with a Dm.

There is some evidence that the Germanics used plectrums (Old English hearpengel), therefore please feel free to use one if you have one available. However, we prefer to use the tops of my nails rather than a plectrum since we find that a plectrum generates a high-pitched note.

This is the only set of chords that will allow you to perform to your maximum ability. Leaving off one string from a chord, which is denoted by the tone designation “5,” allows you to create a so-called “power chord.” Because they do not have a “gender,” power chords can be used to represent either a major or a minor key in music.

As a result, the G5 is now easily accessible. Because the 5th string of the Em chord is lacking from the tune, you are limited to playing only the E and G tones of the chord, which results in you only being able to play the upper two strings of the C chord. It is only with the addition of the 7th string that an Em7 becomes meaningful since it produces a distinctive combination of tones. Only use the Em7 if you have no other alternative than to play an Em chord, as it is not the most effective option.

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